Thursday, June 12, 2014, Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA.
The second day of SVOD’14 – Silicon Valley Open Doors conference is off the a great start with the beautiful exhibit hall of Computer History Museum in Mountain View jam packed with attentive audience, which could have come out straight from the “who is who” list of Silicon Valley. At least 30 VCs from the top venture capital firms are tuned into the 20 startups pitching their companies on stage throughout the day.
The networking and deal making opportunities at SVOD’14 are real for both sides, the startups have been carefully selected in advance and some are designated by the SVOD founding team as “Hot Startup”, a much coveted boost in their efforts to seek attention from the investors. Mike Medvinsky, the CEO of Nedelma, a SVOD “Hot Startup” said: “Pitching on stage at SVOD is the best exposure you can get anywhere in Silicon Valley. Having to answer the difficult questions from investors is a fantastic learning experience for a startup entrepreneur.”
The investors came to the second day of the conference ready to network and to do business, looking to find exciting new additions to their startup portfolios. They are ready to listen to multiple pitches on stage as well as in the hallways throughout the day. Sometimes it only takes a 30 second summary to spark the interest and facilitate next steps in the investment deal.
Those who have attended and participated in the SVOD conference in the past know that this is the key part of the magic that SVOD creates. An introduction by a fellow SVOD attendee or simply a chance meeting during the networking lunch break have led to multiple successful collaborations, partnerships, deals and ideas.
The agenda of today’s conference is full of presentations and panels by Silicon Valley’s business and technology stars and successful entrepreneurs. The day opened with the pitch session judged by three veterans of venture capital: Tim Guleri, Managing Director of Sierra Ventures, Igor Taber, Director of Intel Capital and Eric Buatois, a Partner at Sofinova Ventures. The 5 startups pitched their companies and answered some of the tough questions from investors.
The stimulating agenda continued today with the fireside chat by Trip Hawkins, the legendary Founder of Electronic Arts Foundation and CEO of If You Can. The interview was conducted by Don Clark, Deputy Bureau Chief at Wall Street Journal, and the introductions were made by Ross Hangebrauck, Managing Director of Almaz Capital, a venture capital firm, which is one of the sponsors of SVOD conference this year.
Not letting the energy slow down for a moment, the stage was taken by Kira Makagon, Executive Vice President of Innovation at Ring Central, an over one billion dollars valuation company, and a long time SVOD conference partner. Kira described her vision for the BYOD – Bring Your Own Device issues. The relevant subject matter presentation was well received by the SVOD audience, who remained seated in anticipation of the upcoming fireside chat by Keith Rabois a Partner at legendary Khosla Ventures, moderated by Cromwell Schubarth, a Senior Technology Reporter at Silicon Valley Business Journal.
The audience of investors, finance and legal professionals, startups, innovators and successful business leaders is well taken care of by the organizing committee of SVOD who, with the help of its dedicated sponsors, created an outstanding environment, which includes gourmet hors d’oeuvres and lunch, as well as plenty of freshly brewed espresso to keep everyone energized throughout the day. The event will conclude with the exciting award presentation to the winning startup by the SVOD Sponsor – Microsoft, and a wine and cheese networking reception, assuring that no one leaves without the opportunity to make valuable introductions and lasting connections.
Some of the overwhelmingly positive comments about this year’s SVOD conference include the one by Daniil Stolyarov, Investment Director at Almaz Capital, who shared his experience at the SVOD conference: “A decade-old SVOD emerged as a prime forum for aspiring international entrepreneurs, seeking ways to connect with the Silicon Valley ecosystem. Organizers continue to impress us with amazing speakers, thoughtful content and highly engaged diverse audience. We are proud to be a partner of SVOD.”
Later, after pitching his company on stage, Pavel Cherkashin, President of Minutta, whose badge announces his title as Chief Trouble Maker, said that SVOD conference is the best place for a successful Russian startup to begin its journey and expansion in the USA and globally.
David Mosby of the Keiretsu Forum Academy enjoyed his time at SVOD, and after attending both days of the event shared his thoughts: “SVOD is an amazing community; much more than a typical organization. The people are welcoming, open to new ideas and passionately engaged in making the world a better place through innovation, entrepreneurship and global investment.”
SVOD conference continues to raise the bar on its reputation as the top technology entrepreneurship and investment conference in Silicon Valley with global reach and cross-boarder appeal. You can follow events at SVOD’14 on twitter at #SVOD14, and watch streamed live at http://svod.org/stream.